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Arctic Front Ending Mid-Winter Thaw

February 1, 1988

Undated (AP) _ Several Eastern cities enjoyed record high temperatures today, but the unseasonably mild weather was expected to give way to an arctic cold front that brought subzero readings to the north-central states.

Temperatures were generally above 50 degrees from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to the southern and middle Atlantic Coast. Temperatures were in the 50s as far north as upstate New York, and in the 40s in much of the rest of the Northeast.

Record highs for the date already had been reported early today in several cities. Rochester, N.Y., had 56 degrees, breaking a record of 50 degrees set in 1877. Other record highs were Buffalo, N.Y., 53; Burlington, Vt., 50; Syracuse, N.Y., 57; and Youngstown, Ohio, 51.

At least 26 records were topped or equaled nationwide Sunday, especially in Michigan and Ohio. But forecasters warned it was premature to pack away the parkas in the Frost Belt. A high-pressure system was bringing cold air and freezing temperatures to the Great Lakes, southern Plains and mid-Mississippi Valley this morning.

Temperatures were below zero from Montana and northern Wyoming to Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin, and at least 20 degrees below zero in northern Montana and northwestern North Dakota.

Brisk northerly winds brought wind chill factors as low as 57 degrees below zero in Minot, N.D.

Tons of ice forced the Kishwaukee River over its banks in northern Illinois near Rockford. Rescuers used a helicopter, boats and heavy road equipment to evacuate at least a dozen families, said Sgt. Rodney Roop of the Winnegago County Sheriff’s Department.

Light snow fell in northern Michigan and from western Montana to southern Nebraska and northwestern Kansas. Parts of eastern Colorado had freezing drizzle and dense fog. Dense fog also prevailed over parts of the western Gulf Coast.

Rain showers fell in much of the Ohio Valley, the Tennessee Valley and the central Appalachian Mountains.

Today’s forecast called for snow from the central Rockies through the central Plains and the upper Great Lakes region, freezing rain across south central and northeastern Kansas, and rain showers from the lower Mississippi Valley through the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys, the lower Great Lakes and Middle Atlantic States into New England.

High temperatures were predicted in the 30s, 40s or 50s across much of the nation; the single numbers or below zero in the northern Rockies and northern Plains; the teens and 20s in the Colorado Rockies and central high Plains into the upper Great Lakes; the 60s and 70s from extreme southern California eastward to the Gulf Coast and the middle and southern Atlantic Coast and the 80s in extreme southern Texas and central and southern Florida.

Temperatures around the nation at 2 a.m. EST ranged from 23 degrees below zero at Havre, Mont., to 71 degrees at Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach, Fla.

Other reports:

-East: Atlanta 55 partly cloudy; Boston 47 windy; Buffalo 45 rain; Charleston, S.C. 60 cloudy; Cincinnati 55 rain; Cleveland 50 rain; Detroit 38 foggy; Miami 71 fair; New York 40 fair; Philadelphia 43 partly cloudy; Pittsburgh 54 drizzle; Portland, Maine 45 cloudy; Washington 49 cloudy.

-Central: Bismarck -13 fair; Chicago 34 cloudy; Dallas-Fort Worth 62 partly cloudy; Denver 20 foggy; Des Moines 11 cloudy; Indianapolis 46 rain; Kansas City 23 cloudy; Minneapolis-St. Paul -1 cloudy; Nashville 60 foggy; New Orleans 66 foggy; St. Louis 36 rain.

-West: Albuquerque 40 cloudy; Anchorage 24 foggy; Las Vegas 42 fair; Los Angeles 53 cloudy; Phoenix 53 cloudy; Salt Lake City 24 partly cloudy; San Diego 54 cloudy; San Francisco 46 partly cloudy; Seattle 30 fair.

-Canada: Montreal 45 cloudy; Toronto 43 foggy.